Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Half The Lies You Tell Are True - C.P. Wilson



In a world where internet rumour becomes real-world fact, do we ever really know anyone?

High school teacher Dougie Black is brutally attacked in school. Stabbed in front of his class by a pupil with no apparent motive, Dougie fights for his life in ICU whilst DS Lewis Gilmour attempts to unravel the events leading up to the attack.

As the doctors struggle to save Dougie’s life, social media is rife with rumours about his private life. Mr Black’s friends and family begin to question everything they thought they knew about him. 

Who is Dougie Black? Why did a child attempt to murder him? How did so many years of lies lead to an horrific moment of violence?


What did I think?

I read this dark and disturbing novel in one day as I just had to find out the whole story behind the terrible events at Cambuscraig High School in Edinburgh.  With news reports and social media postings, it felt very realistic and so true to life that I found myself shocked and horrified at the beginning and quite emotional towards the end.

We are launched straight into the action as Frankie Malone witnesses her fellow teacher and friend, Dougie Black, struggling to restrain one of his pupils.  What Frankie sees next will stay with her forever as 16 year old Harry Jardine thrusts a knife into Mr Black over and over again.  The pupils and teachers who witnessed the attack are interviewed by the police but the public aren't too interested in facts as the rumour mill starts churning and Mr Black's relationships with his students are called into question.  After all, he must have done something to make Harry Jardine attack this popular teacher.

This is such a thought-provoking book as I find it fascinating how quick we are to jump to conclusions and always see the worst in people.  As the rumours start to circulate, even Frankie begins to doubt her friend.  Everyone seems to have an opinion about Harry's motive but some people know more than they're letting on.  When Dougie's private life is put under the microscope, people see what they want to see to add fuel to the fire as Dougie has been spotted spending time with a young woman.  After all, what would a man in his sixties be doing with a woman in her twenties?

Half The Lies You Tell Are True is very cleverly written to entice the reader to believe the rumours and although I thought I was firmly in Dougie's corner, I even doubted his innocence at one time or another.  The book is written in three excellent parts: part 1 being the attack in the school, part 2 takes a step back and shows us Dougie Black and Harry Jardine before the attack and part 3 is the aftermath, which left me struggling to hold back tears.  I didn't realise how emotionally invested I was in the story until I felt the lump in my throat; with the reason behind the attack laid bare I found it so tragic how lives can be irrevocably altered by one thoughtless act.  An act that may have seemed like a harmless spark but once it caught, the flames were fanned by the mob mentality of social media.  It is so scary how easy it is for people to hide behind a screen and throw virtual stones at people.

A compelling read and a brilliant psychological thriller for the digital age that examines how very different the human psyche can be on and offline.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:




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